A Woman of Honor and Dignity
Georgia Beatrice Kelley Thomas was born in Edenwald, Tennessee, on July 23, 1913, to the union of Charlie (“Papa”) Kelley and Jenny Cunningham Kelley. As the youngest of fourteen brothers and sisters, her mother passed away two weeks after Georgia was born from a common birth complication of that time, called childbirth fever. Georgia was then raised by her eldest sister, Idella and her husband, Charlie Gee. .
Georgia gave her life to Christ at an early age and began serving the Lord as a Sunday School teacher at her home church in Edenwald. After her sister passed away, whom she called “Mama,” Georgia moved to Chicago to live with her relatives, Aunt Minnie and Henry Hagin. Sometime later, she completed her formal education by earning her diploma from Englewood High School.
On March 7, 1937, Georgia married William August Thomas, fondly known as “Jack.” To this union, the Lord blessed them with nine children: William August Jr., Joseph Louis (“Joe,” Deceased), Valeria Anise, Barbara Jean, Juanita Marie, Jacqueline, Kathryn, Mary Frances, and Michael Alan. .
Georgia was a woman of integrity who held herself to a very high standard. For example, if one of her children claimed to be ill in order to avoid attending school, that child had to be legitimately sick because Mama made it known that she wasn’t about to make a false statement to any school official. .
During her eightieth birthday tribute, Mama was lovingly called by her grandchildren, “the epitome of excellence in motherhood.” This is truly a fitting description because there has never been a greater, more dedicated mother than Georgia. Mama possessed a divinely inspired instinct that made all of her nine children feel special in our own right and never showed the slightest hint of preference for one of us over another. Throughout her lifetime, Mama’s instinct for mothering was so strong that many people were drawn to her. In particular, this prompted one cousin, Elizabeth Grady Stewart, to refer to herself as Mama’s “tenth child.” .
Moreover, Mama was the quintessential house wife and homemaker who dedicated herself to providing a nurturing environment for her children. As she prepared food around the clock, her meals were planned to suit her entire family. Very few mothers cooked custom dishes to suit their children’s individual tastes. But Mama did. If she made spaghetti and meatballs, and Mary Frances didn’t like onions, Mama would make a special pot just for her. When she made gumbo and because Jackie didn’t like chicken, she made a special pot just for her. There would be no oysters in the dressing that Valeria would enjoy. On and on, this is how Mama approached her duty of providing delicious meals for her entire family. In fact, being the excellent cook that she was, Mama was known by people from all around for her Sunday morning delectable fried chicken, grits and gravy, and homemade biscuit breakfasts. Friends and neighbors would just “happen to stop by” on Sundays and partake of Mama’s extraordinary cuisine that was always served with tender loving care. .
On January 18, 2011, at the age of 97, Georgia transitioned from this life to be with the Lord Jesus Christ. She was preceded in death by her loving husband, Jack, and her second oldest son, Joe.
Mama leaves to her legacy the eight remaining siblings: William August Jr., Valeria Hill (Wilbert, deceased), Barbara Pumphrey (Lewis), Juanita Thomas, Jackie Matthews (Harold, deceased), Kathryn Hall (Jerry), Mary Frances Reynolds (Jules), and Michael Thomas; eighteen grandchildren; thirteen great grandchildren; three nieces, Valeria Shute Tyler, Mildred Kelley, Suzy Ann Kelley Harris; one nephew, Thomas Shute; and a host of family and friends.
Georgia will always be remembered with loving thoughts by her family and everyone who knew her. It is our firm belief that she fulfilled the purpose for which the Lord God placed her on this earth. Surely, Georgia can rest in peace; for the life she lived was in agreement with God’s Word: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith,” (2 Timothy 4:7). .
Until we see you again, rest now and forevermore, Mama, in the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.
The family of Georgia Beatrice Kelley Thomas wishes to extend our love and gratitude to all who have offered their support to us during this time of great loss. Your visits, phone calls, cards, other condolences, and most of all, your prayers